Two more medals for Canada
Montréal, June 20, 2013 – The Canadian contingent at the Pan-American Fencing Championships added two more medals, Thursday, in Cartagena, Colombia. In the women’s team sabre competition, Canada came away with a bronze medal, while the men’s side duplicated that performance in the team foil fencing event.
By reaching the podium, the young women’s side, made up of Quebecers Sandra Sassine and Gabriella Page, Albertan Marissa Ponich, and Ontarian Heather Shacker, were able to reach the goal they had set out to achieve.
“There were 10 teams and our objective was to finish 3rd. It was the first Pan-American games for both Marissa and Heather. It was just the second time around for Gabriela. I felt like we developed some really good team chemistry out there today,” team leader Sandra Sassine explained.
The Canadians started things off with 45-37 win over the Argentines. Ponich impressed during the second relay, putting her side ahead with a 10-4 lead. Sandrine Sassine would go on to put the finishing touches on the team’s first victory.
In the semifinals, the Canadian women would struggle to a 45-20 defeat at the hands of the strong American side. Three of the finalists in the individual competition, including the double Olympic gold medallist Mariel Zagunis, were members of the American line-up.
The Canadian side would conclude the event with a 45-37 win over the Venezuelans. In the gold medal final, the Americans made quick work of the Mexican team, winning by a score of 45-27.
“We drew well against the Argentines, but we’re still disappointed to have fallen to the Americans in the semis. They have a very experienced team and they rank right up there with the best squads in the world. We finished off the competition well with some excellent matches versus the Mexicans,” Sassine added.
On the men’s side, the foil fencers, comprised of Quebecers Maximilien Van Haaster, Étienne Lalonde Turbide and Anthony Prymack, as well as Albertan Rory Chisholm, climbed to the third step of the podium in the team competition.
In the quarterfinals, the Canadian contingent got the better of the Venezuelans, 45-35. They struggled in their next matchup against the Brazilians, but made a valiant effort to make it a tight finish. Despite trailing for the entire contest, the Canadians were given late life with a tremendous relay by Maxime Van Haaster to make things close. It would be too little too late however, with the men’s side falling in a nail-biter, 45-43.
Up against the Mexicans in the bronze medal match, the Canadians rebounded with a victory by the score of 45-36. “The heat, hydration issues, refereeing and the short break between matches made life a little more difficult for our last contest. Personally, I was completely drained. My teammates were also tired at the beginning of the match, but they managed to regain their composure and finish strongly,” Étienne Lalonde Turbide explained.
In the finale, the Americans handily beat the Brazilians 45-18 to claim the gold medal.
The Pan-American Championships will come to a close on Friday, with team competitions in women’s épée and men’s sabre on the schedule.
The Ontarian epeeists Joanna Guy and Alexis D. Anna Rudkovska, along with the Manitoban Daria Jorquera Palmer and Quebecer Vanessa Lacas-Warrick will defend the countries colours in the women’s event.
On the men’s side, the Quebecois sabreurs Philippe Beaudry and Joseph Polossifakis will team up with Ontarian Mark Peros and British Colombian Shaul Gordon.